CONWAY, S.C. -- Newcomers DeAnthony Tipler and Essam Mostafa combined for 49 points to lead Coastal Carolina to an easy 117-68 win over North Carolina Wesleyan in the season-opener Saturday at the HTC Center. Tipler, a junior college transfer guard, hit for a team-high 28 points while Mostafa, a redshirt freshman forward, scored 21 points.
Coastal had five players in double-figures on the day. The others were Tyrik Dixon with 18, and DeVante’ Jones, and DeShawn Thomas with 13 apiece. Senior guard Damon McDowell had 23 points to lead NCWC (0-1).
Tipler scored most of his points from the outside, hitting of 11-14 shots overall, including 6-8 from beyond the 3-point line. Mostafa scored his points on the inside, hitting 8-10 from the field and making 5-6 free throws. He also pulled down seven rebounds.
“We played very well from start to finish, and we knocked down shots from the inside and outside,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis, now in his 14th season with the Chanticleers. “I was pleased with what I saw. We are a deeper team than we were last year. Teams won’t be able to focus on DJ (Jones). He doesn’t have to carry the load.”
However, Jones led the charge at the start, scoring 10 of Coastal’s first 16 points to put his team in front, 16-8. McDowell led his team in the early going as well. He scored 15 of the Bishops’ first 17. But after leading by only 20-17, the Chanticleers went on a 14-2 run and never looked back.
Jones had all of his points in the first half, when the Chanticleers held a 58-35 lead at the break. Tipler and Mostafa had 10 points each in the first half.
Mostafa added to his totals by keying a 12-2 run to start the second half, giving Coastal a big 70-37 lead. Coastal held it biggest lead of the game in the final minute, at 117-66. Ten players scored for Coastal. For the game, the Chanticleers shot better than 60 percent from the field (42-62) and from beyond the 3-point line (15-25). They also held a rebounding advantage (32-28).
Another bright spot for Coastal was the return of sophomore guard Ebrima Dibba, who missed 27 games with a knee injury last season. He only scored three points, but he had nine assists and five rebounds in 27 minutes.